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March 07, 2011  |   Comments (2)   |   Post a comment

Simplifying Wheelchair Lifts

The wheelchair lift industry is moving toward technology that reduces equipment complications and helps users better understand how to operate and maintain their lifts.

by Brittany-Marie Swanson


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Maxon's WL7C Smart Lift is equipped with a Brain Box that informs operators of any problems during lift operation.
<p>Maxon's WL7C Smart Lift is equipped with a Brain Box that informs operators of any problems during lift operation.</p>

Companies provide training for better maintenance, safety

To ensure that its customers are properly managing their lifts, Braun's service technicians provide operator training, which is available to both dealers and end users, Trudeau says.

Also, customers have the option of adding additional safety equipment to any lifts they order from the company. These include safety belts and handrails.

"The outward barrier [that comes standard on the lift] is high enough that a chair will not override it. It meets and exceeds ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] requirements," Trudeau explains. Of the optional safety equipment, he says, "It has more to do with the comfort level of the person in the chair. Some agencies will add a belt just to make [students] feel more comfortable when they're riding up and down the lift."

Trudeau describes lift operation as "pretty cut and dry." Loading passengers on a level surface, he says, is critical, adding that passengers should be loaded onto the lift platform while facing away from the bus, so that the majority of the weight is focused on the interior side of the lift.

"We also recommend that the attendee is not on the platform with the person," Trudeau states. "They should be on the ground - because in case something does happen, you can do more for somebody in a chair on the ground than if you're on the platform with them."

However, Prahl says that, "An increasing number of districts are requiring that the operator ride the platform with the occupant. With that in mind, Maxon designed the WL7C lift so that the platform has little deflection."

"The ADA states that the occupant makes the decision which way they want to face when riding a lift," Prahl adds. Maxon recommends that passengers enter the lift facing forward.

Maxon's WL7C lift meets all requirements set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the ADA and FMVSS 403. Safe operation is aided by the lift's Brain Box, which will identify any problems with the lift and immediately display the corresponding code in the right-hand corner of the Brain Box's LCD screen.

Bus drivers can consult a list of commands to determine what the Brain Box is telling them about the lift. In the case of a dangerous situation, such as an improperly stowed lift, the Brain Box will prevent the bus from moving.

And "although an interlocked seat belt is no longer required in the United States, one can be added to an existing lift in just five minutes," Prahl says of Maxon's safety equipment options.

Maxon offers complimentary in-the-field training covering installation, operation, troubleshooting and maintenance. Operator training is also available on DVD.

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If the lift is deployed and on the ground, what prevents another chair, or person, from dropping off the open edge of the bus doorway?

Bill C    |    Nov 04, 2013 08:36 AM

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powerchair    |    Apr 16, 2011 01:40 PM

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